Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures

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Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures
Operatsiya.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Leonid Gaidai
Written by Moris Slobodskoy
Yakov Kostyukovsky
Leonid Gaidai
Starring Aleksandr Demyanenko
Aleksey Smirnov
Natalya Seleznyova
Yuri Nikulin
Georgy Vitsin
Yevgeny Morgunov
Music by Aleksandr Zatsepin
Cinematography Konstantin Brovin
Edited by Valentina Yankovskaya
Distributed by Mosfilm
Release dates
  • 16 August 1965 (1965-08-16)
Running time 90 min.
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures (Russian: Операция „Ы“ и другие приключения Шурика) - (Operatsiya „Y“ i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika) is a 1965 Soviet slapstick comedy film directed by Leonid Gaidai, starring Aleksandr Demyanenko, Natalya Seleznyova, Yuri Nikulin, Georgy Vitsin and Yevgeny Morgunov. The film consists of three independent parts: "Workmate" (Напарник, Naparnik), "Déjà vu" (Наваждение, Navazhdeniye) and "Operation Y"[1] (Операция „Ы“).[2][3][verification needed] The plot follows the adventures of Shurik (alternative spelling — Shourick), the naive and nerdy Soviet student who often gets into ludicrous situations but always finds a way out very neatly.

Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures was a hit movie and became the leader of Soviet film distribution in 1965.[2]

Cast[edit]

Segment "Workmate"[edit]

  • Aleksei Smirnov — Fedya the Boor
  • Vladimir Basov — The Strict Policeman
  • Emmanuil Geller — The Passenger with an Umbrella
  • Rina Zelyonaya — A Woman in the bus
  • Viktor Uralsky — The Cook at the Construction Site
  • Mikhail Pugovkin — Pavel Stepanovich, Construction Works Manager
  • Valentina Berezutskaya — Expectant Mother

Segment "Déjà vu"[edit]

  • Natalya Seleznyova — Lida
  • Svetlana Ageyeva — Lida's friend
  • Vladimir Rautbart — Professor
  • Viktor Pavlov — "Dub"
  • Valeri Nosik — The Student-gambler
  • Georgi Georgiu — Lida's Neighbor
  • Zoya Fyodorova — Lida's Neighbor

Segment "Operation Y"[edit]

  • Yuri Nikulin — "Fool"
  • Georgy Vitsin — "Coward"
  • Yevgeny Morgunov — "Pro"
  • Vladimir Vladislavsky — The Warehouse Manager
  • Maria Kravchunovskaya — The Gran
  • Tanya Gradova — Lenochka
  • V. Komarovsky — The Truck Driver
  • Aleksey Smirnov — The Consumer at the Market

Plot[edit]

Segment "Workmate"[edit]

On a bus a boor and drunkard named Fedya takes a seat reserved for children and disabled persons and then refuses to let a young pregnant woman sit claiming that "she is neither a child nor handicapped". Shurik, who is riding on the same bus, puts on a pair of sunglasses, and pretends to be visually impaired. When Fedya is urged to let him sit in his seat, Shurik offers the seat to the pregnant woman. Fedya is enraged at being deceived and gets into a fight with Shurik. As a result, Fedya is arrested and sentenced to 15 days of Community service, Russian administrative arrest or simply '15 sutok' (15 days). Ironically, he is sent to serve his term to the same construction site where Shurik works part-time. The manager puts them on the same work crew. Fedya does not do his work properly, bullies Shurik, and plans to get revenge on the young student. When Shurik finally hits back, the two get involved in a Tom and Jerry-style chase throughout the construction site using building equipment and various materials as weapons. In the end Fedya is subdued and reeducated by Shurik.

Features[edit]

  • The policeman asks: 'Who wants to work, alcoholics, parasites, hooligans?'

Segment "Déjà vu"[edit]

It's time for summer examinations at the University, and everyone is cramming for the exams. Shurik (and everyone else) is looking desperately for lecture notes and finally sees them in the hands of a girl on a streetcar, Lida, who is a student of the same University. As Shurik follows her reading the notebook over her shoulder, they become so deeply absorbed in reading the notes that Lida never looks up, instinctively assuming that Shurik is one of her female coeds. The two are completely engrossed in reading and never look at or speak to each other, following a sort of humorous pantomime.

They come into the girl's apartment and spend time there reading simultaneously with having a snack and resting, with the girl taking her clothes off, still completely unaware of each other's identity, then prepare to go back to the University. There Shurik is distracted from Lida's notebook by a fellow student and loses her as she walks in another direction. After passing the exam successfully, he is introduced to Lida by a mutual friend. Shurik does not recognize Lida but is enchanted by her. He walks her back home and, following an amusing incident involving a dog belonging to Lida's neighbors, finds himself in her apartment again, where he starts to feel as if he has been there before since he can guess where all the things are placed and all the "objects, scents and sounds" seem familiar to him. Lida assumes that he might be a telepathist and has an ability of precognition. She tells him to guess her wish that she has written on a piece of paper, "Find the teddy bear". Shurik then kisses her. Although he failed to guess the wish, the kiss evokes romantic feelings in both of them, and they decide to meet again after the next exam.

Meanwhile another student tries to cheat his way through his Physics exam by using a concealed radio to communicate with another student, but has to dress up to an absurd degree to hide his crude equipment and attracts the examiner's attention by using radio jargon, but he seems to get away with it. However, the examiner promptly reveals a proper radio intercept suite in his bag, listens to the cheater call him a fool, and then activates a radio jammer before approaching the offender and blowing his cover. They both laugh at the disguise, and the student gets 5 (excellent) for his design (it is a technical faculty) and a 2 (fail) for the exam.

Segment "Operation Y"[edit]

A warehouse manager, trying to cover up his theft, hires three petty criminals nicknamed Fool (Балбес), Coward (Трус) and Pro (Бывалый) to stage a break-in. Their elaborate plan goes wrong when Shurik is asked by his landlady, an elderly woman nicknamed Baboushka (Grandma) who usually guards the warehouse, to babysit her granddaughter during her shift, and once that proves to be too much for him, to replace her while she takes care of the child. Surprised, Coward fails to neutralize the guard using a handkerchief soaked in chloroform as planned, putting himself to sleep instead. The culmination of the story is the "Warehouse Battle", involving Shurik and the criminals using various impromptu weapons such as musical instruments and rapiers. The segment ends as an agitated Baboushka arrives at the warehouse and finds Shurik and the trio lying on a floor asleep — Coward having fainted earlier on, Fool and Pro having been "rendered harmless" by Shurik, and Shurik himself having fallen asleep after accidentally wiping his face with the chloroform soaked handkerchief.

Production[edit]

  • The film was shot in Leningrad, Odessa, Yalta, Mosfilm pavilions, Sviblovo district of Moscow and near the Moscow State University. The filming was started on July 27, 1964. In October bad weather in Moscow hindered the completion of the outdoor scenes, so the shooting was relocated to Odessa and was complete on November 22. The rest of the scenes were shot in Moscow and Leningrad. The lack of snow offered much difficulty filming the third episode about the burglary of a warehouse on a snowy winter night. In spring 1965 the editing of the film was mostly complete. The remaining short location shooting was made in Yalta.[4]
  • The film's plot is based loosely on a screenplay written by Moris Slobodsky and Yakov Kostyukovsky entitled Light-hearted Stories (Russian: Несерьёзные истории); it consisted of two novels about comical adventures of a young student Vladik Arkov, clumsy but very decent. A character of a "good guy" was popular in the Soviet art of that time, so Gaidai decided to follow this tendency shooting his next film. The story line was modified and the additional novel was written.[4]
  • More than one hundred actors took a screen test for the role of the student Vladik, but Gaidai was not satisfied with any of them. He had his own personality in mind as a prototype of the character, so when he first saw a photo of Aleksandr Demyanenko and then met him in person, he noticed the likeness to himself in the actor, and believed that the humble Demyanenko in glasses would be able to portray the awkward, naive and honest student.[4]
  • Initially the name of the main character was Vladik (short for Vladislav). Later the director, impressed by Demyanenko, decided to name the characted after the actor (Shurik, as well as Sasha, is a short form of the name Aleksandr).[4]
  • Among those who took part in the audition for the main role was actor Valery Nosik. Eventually he appeared in the film as a student-gambler. Mikhail Pugovkin, who played the role of the construction site manager, was initially cast for the role of Fedya.
  • At the session of the Art Council after the preliminary watching of the film, the critics panned the acting of Morgunov and Vitsin, while praising Nikulin, and were insisting on deleting scenes where Alexei Smirnov appears in blackface. However, no changes were made.[4]

Reception[edit]

The film was enormously popular; it became the leader of Soviet film distribution in 1965 having 69.6 million viewers. The novel Déjà vu, based on a story from a Polish magazine,[4] won the Grand Prix Wawel Silver Dragon at the Kraków Film Festival in Poland in 1965.[2] The film became a fount of quotes for Soviet/Russian people.

Video Release[edit]

At the end of the 1970s and the 1980s, the film was released on VHS as part of the series "Video Program of Goskino USSR". Starting in 1990, the film was released on VHS by the film association "Large Scale" (Krupniy plan) with Hi-Fi Stereo sound and encoded in PAL. Starting in 2001, Large Scale began fully restored releases of the film on DVD with enhanced video and sound quality using Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Mono and incorporating subtitles.

Notes[edit]

Pro (Yevgeni Morgunov) turns 180° the S-3A car effortlessly with his shoulder.
  • S-3A, a tiny car for the handicapped featured in Operation Y section of the film. It was used by Fool, Coward and Pro.
  • Aleksandr Demyanenko was also featured as Shurik in the next two films — The Prisoneress of the Caucasus, or Shurik's New Adventures (also known as "Kidnapping, Caucasian Style") and Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future; they are considered semi-sequels of "Operation Y".
  • The criminal trio of Fool, Coward and Pro, portrayed by Nikulin, Vitsin and Morgunov, was featured in other movies written and directed by Gaidai, short films Dog Barbos and Unusual Cross (international title: Medor, le chien qui rapporte bien) (1960), Bootleggers (1961) and the 1966 hit The Prisoner of the Caucasus, or Shurik's New Adventures. In 1968, trio featured in Yevgeni Karelov's Seven Old Men and One Girl comedy.[5] Vitsin, Nikulin and Morgunov also appeared in Gaidai's 1962 film Business People.
  • The ebullient Professor in Déjà Vu is said to have been modeled after Slavic Languages Professor Stephen Hill of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was a close friend of Gaidai.
  • The bus, where Shurik gets into a fight with the boor, is ZIL 158.
  • In the segment Déjà Vu Shurik and Lida ride on a streetcar Tatra T3, license plate 530. It was from one of the first series of these streetcars, later Tatra's have three doors instead of two. Also in that scene a MTV-82 streetcar is visible (in typical coating with downfalling red line alongside).
  • Tube radio in Lida's flat is RRR Dzintars (1960).[6][7]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ The letter "Y" in the title of the film is in fact Yery (Cyrillic: Ы, pronounced roughly as the vowel sound in the word "nib"), Operatsiya „Y“, this codename sounds bizarre because no native Russian word starts with this letter. As Fool (Yu. Nikulin) answers to the "Why 'Y'?" question — "So that nobody would guess why!" The phrase became a common colloquialism in Russian used to answer odd questions.
  2. ^ a b c Операция "Ы" и другие приключения Шурика (in Russian). KinoExpert.ru. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  3. ^ Операция "Ы" и другие приключения Шурика (1965) (in Russian). Retrieved 2010-06-12. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f ""Simply Shurik". One of the most popular characters of the Soviet Cinema came into the world 40 years ago". Vechernyaya Moskva (in Russian). Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  5. ^ Семь стариков и одна девушка (1968) at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Radios in Movies (russian)
  7. ^ Dzintars
Bibliography

External links[edit]